Re: Newbie questions
I suggest, as others have, an 8 foot rod in medium or fast action, 6 weight line in either weight forward or rocket taper that floats. A longer rod, 9 ft, would be better unless you plan on fishing small streams. A large arbor reel will be a plus. My favorite flies for panfish are small streamers in size 10. I tie hundreds of them just for this purpose. I try to always carry some light, dark and very bright colors. I start with one color and try others if I am not catching many fish. Bass will hit these flies but larger ones will catch larger bass.
You can use regular fishing line as a leader. You should start with two feet of a heavier weight line tied to the fly line. Then tie on two feet of a lighter weight line and so on and so on until you have a leader that is 6-9 ft long. This helps the fly fall straight away from your line and doesn't ball up at the end. For your first leader spend the $2.50 and buy a tapered leader. Look it over and you will understand how to tie your regular fishing line for your next leader.